On average, Australians work 1,683 hours every year. With so many now working from home, there has been a major shift in how businesses operate, with employees benefiting from more flexibility as a by-product. The recent shutdowns, along with remote working conditions enforced in reaction to COVID-19, could change the way leaders view remote working and employee flexibility going forward.
Through change and uncertainty, it is important for your team to still feel connected and you are stepping up as a leader. Effective leadership can make a huge difference in how your business survives, pivots or grows during this time.
Creating a culture of leadership at all levels in your business is important. We want to see effective leadership happening at a junior level through to team leaders and senior management. They all have a part to play when it comes to providing effective leadership that keeps the business, and your teams, growing and adapting. As humans, we are resilient and we will adapt, but it is only with the support and direction of effective leaders in which we are able to do this.
There’s different characteristics and elements that make up effective leadership. We’ve considered what we believe these characteristics to be and want to share them with you.
An effective leader:
Provides guidance and is willing to be coached
An effective leader is able to see the bigger picture in a crisis and provides guidance to the people around them in navigating the current situation in a positive and empowering way. This does not mean that the leader has all the answers or is perfect in staying positive, but they do recognise the importance of seeking out coaching from mentors or other leaders during this time and passing on their knowledge to others. Education is the biggest key to empowering yourself and others around you.
Motivates employees and influences morale
During a crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re seeing unfold before us, lots of people are struggling with the incredible amount of change happening around them. It’s easy to feel helpless and like there’s a lot out of your control. Many of your employees will be feeling this way. An effective leader recognises this and connects with their team in a way that makes them feel heard, supported and works to influence them in a direction of feeling empowered again.
To motivate employees, we need to first connect with each employee. Find out how they are going and what’s most important to them at the present moment, both inside and outside of work. As a leader, ask yourself, how can I support and empower my employees at this time?
Displays personal humility and indomitable will
An effective leader knows that it’s not about them, it’s about their people. As Simon Sinek says – “Truly effective and inspiring leaders aren’t actually driven to lead people; they are driven to serve them.” An effective leader has an unstoppable attitude towards helping their people and takes brave actions to ensure that the team gets through anything that may get in the way of their goal, growth and teamwork.
Has trust and builds a culture of trust
Having trust is vital in effective leadership. If there is no trust, then you are not likely to have loyal followers (which is what ultimately makes you a leader in the first place). As Brene Brown says; “Trust is built in very small moments.” Trust is developed in the small moments of having a team member’s back, having clear communication, and staying true to your word. Consider how you can build trust in small moments in your organisation.
Has courage to acknowledge their team members to have feelings
When leaders lead the charge in being vulnerable it fosters a more connected and effective team. There’s plenty of moments where employees will need to have the courage to be vulnerable in order for themselves and the organisation to grow. It can be easy for them to take the easy road or to not mention how they are feeling but that won’t lead to the employee, team and organisation to continue evolving. Effective leaders know the power of acknowledging their feelings and encouraging others to do the same.
Generates a group of followers (followership)
What is a leader without followers? Followers and having a followership are what makes a leader. An effective leader has a strong followership. They generate followers by serving, gaining trust and helping their followers to grow. An effective leader knows that the more followers they have, the bigger impact they can make but appreciates each follower individually. By being an effective leader during the COVID-19 crisis, you are sure to gain more followers in your organisation.
Now that you know some of the prominent characteristics of an effective leader, consider who has displayed these characteristics in your organisation. How can you help develop the leaders in your organisation into even more effective leaders? This will help your business in getting through, or even growing, through the current pandemic.
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